Pancake Day supporting community

Pancake Day at Dongara Uniting Church has become a celebrated event around the town. Having started their event back some years ago when it was a Uniting Church WA sponsored event, the  congregation have continued running Pancake Day as a local fundraising activity for community services provided through their church.

Setting up a dining area at the church, with a yellow tent they bring out each year, the event is quite popular. Guests can dine in, or pancakes are also delivered to local businesses.

Wendy Small, from Dongara Uniting Church, said that the event is well supported by the town. Continue Reading

Crafting for the greater good

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Once upon a time, crafting and mending was a necessity for many women. These days it can be a pleasant hobby – but for some it is so much more.

Creating a connection between women and their ancestors, there is a new generation of crafters who use their heritage to fight for what they believe in. While not necessarily a new phenomenon,  mixing craft with social activism has recently hit the spotlight in a big way. Inspired by the rise of the Pussyhat, Heather Dowling explores the world of ‘craftivism’.

In the United States of America (USA), a sea of pink could be seen at women’s marches all over the country following the announcement that Donald Trump would be their next President. In  response to Trump’s “Grab them by the pussy” line, thousands of people around the world have bonded, marched, sang, laughed and yelled to get the message across that women are not objects.

A simple pattern, written by Kat Coyle, the Pussyhat is a hot pink beanie with little cat ears. It may be cute, but its message is fierce: don’t mess with a woman who knits.

In the lead-up to womens’ rights marches in Washington and across America in January, and the global International Women’s Day in March, knitting groups around the world have been meeting for the sole purpose of creating the hats to pass on to others, so that as many women, and men, as possible could wear one at these events. An image of a lonely hat even made the cover of Time  Magazine.

While the campaign originated in the USA, co-founded by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, the concept has resonated with people around the world, including in Australia. Continue Reading

We can do better for refugees and asylum seekers

Uniting Church members from congregations across WA will come together with other churches and community groups at 1.00pm this Sunday 9 April for the fourth Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees at St George’s Cathedral, 38 St Georges Terrace, Perth.

This year, it will be led by a couple of particularly special guests: two donkeys will be heading the walk, as part of a re-imagining of the original Palm Sunday story. Rev Steve Francis, moderator of the Uniting Church WA, went to visit the donkeys with James Jegasothy, vice-chair of the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD).

“They are very cute,” said Rev Francis, “but they are also a symbol that Jesus deliberately employed to communicate the nature of his message. A message of humility, peace and love, especially for the outsider and the stranger.”

The Uniting Church will be an active participant in Palm Sunday walks which are happening in cities around Australia. The Uniting Church has continually advocated for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees as reflected in the Assembly’s statement Shelter from the Storm

The Perth event has over 40 community organisations, churches and human rights groups calling for humane policies for asylum seekers and refugees (see list http://justice4refugeeswa.com/about/).

Rev Steve Francis, moderator of the Uniting Church WA, said, “The people stuck on Manus Island and Nauru are suffering, even though they sought our help.

“Australians are compassionate people. We know that we can do better than the limbo to which we sentence asylum seekers.  Whether it is offshore or onshore detention, bridging visas or temporary visas – people cannot lead fulfilling lives amid such fundamental uncertainty about their futures.” 

The voices of refugees themselves will be centre stage at the beginning of the walk with messages from refugees on Manus Island to be read out.  Iranian poet and refugee, Arad Nik will also be present to perform one of his pieces. Here he shares an excerpt from Boat and Pain (English translation):

My sad face, asks for your sympathy.

In my dream is a poor child.

‘Sleeping’ boat children on the beach, makes you distraught.

City mindlessness is poison for my thought.

Moaning buried in the sea, makes you sad.

The passion of this poetry – gives them voice anew.

Hearing tears from over the ocean, leaves us in sleepless vigil.

Participants are invited to bring a palm frond to St George’s Cathedral this Palm Sunday before peacefully following the donkeys on a brief circuit through the city.

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Experiencing Perth through the eyes of Mowanjum’s youth

The January school holidays were a special time for 16 students from Derby District High School who spent 11 glorious days in sunny Perth. The students were members of the remote, Indigenous community of Mowanjum.

This is the fourth time Derby students have travelled from the West Kimberly to Perth to experience a different way of life, away from the bush. Their journey to Perth is a long one – 4 500km on a bus with several stops, which included an overnight stay at Port Hedland Uniting Church and Karalundi School in Meekatharra, before reaching their destination: Ern Halliday campsite at  Hillarys, Perth.

The excursion was hosted by the Boab Network based at All Saints Floreat Uniting Church, which have been running school holiday programs in Mowanjum for 10 years. There are many reasons  why the trip is important for Mowanjum. Continue Reading

Support for communities affected by Cyclone Debbie

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, has asked church members to lend their support to Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) appeals for communities suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

“Our Church will be there to support people in need and help Queensland and northern NSW recover,” said Stuart.

“Please continue to pray for the safety and the welfare of all affected communities, as they come to terms with their losses.”

“I ask all UCA members to please try to support our appeals, which go to support ministry in these communities.”

Cyclone Debbie made landfall on the Whitsunday Coast as a Category 4 storm with winds of more than 260 kilometres an hour on Monday 28 March causing extensive damage.

Five days later water, shelter and communications are still limited into towns of Ayr, Bowen and Proserpine.

Torrential rains from the weakening cyclone have also seen rivers in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales reach record peaks, causing major flooding in Beaudesert, Lismore and the Tweed Valley.

Tens of thousands of residents had to be evacuated.Continue Reading

From the Archives: 1977 Inauguration

inauguration-picThis year the Uniting Church in Australia celebrates its 40th anniversary. Throughout 2017, Revive will feature significant events for the life of the church during that time.

On Sunday 26 June, 1977, a celebration to mark the Inauguration of the Uniting Church WA and the Induction of its  first Moderator was held at the Perth Entertainment Centre. A free ticketed event, members of the newly formed Uniting Church WA enjoyed a moving and joyous service at the venue, which has now been replaced with Perth Arena. Continue Reading

RenewWA: standing with the Pacific

For Fijian Methodist minister Rev James Bhagwan, climate change is not a theoretical concept. For many people in the Pacific, the impacts of rising sea levels and severe tropical cyclones are an all too real experience of a changing climate.

James, the Methodist Church in Fiji’s secretary for Communication and Overseas Mission, is a keen advocate for strong action on climate change, having seen its direct impacts in his community.

“Our small nation, Fiji, was the first to ratify the Paris Agreement and almost immediately, as if to underline the importance of the convention on climate change, we were faced with Severe Tropical Cyclone (STC) Winston, a category 5 cyclone and the most powerful in the southern hemisphere — a symbol of the earth’s groaning and crying to the rising temperatures and sea levels,” he said.

“Before STC Winston and since we continue to suffer from other extreme weather patterns – droughts and floods – as a result of climate change.Continue Reading